OCTOBER 18--Oakland International Airport is taking a first step toward being able to scan crowds for terrorists with the installation of face-scanning technology. Alameda County, where Oakland is located, completed the implementation of a face-scanning system three months ago in the Oakland city jail. When a suspect is arrested, his face is scanned during booking, and the digital image is stored in a central database located at Oakland Police Department headquarters, according to Oakland police Sgt. Mark Schmid, who is in charge of the program.
Now the police department is installing a T1 line to the airport so a scanner located there can connect to the database of photos from the jail, he said. While the database now contains only information from the city jail, later phases of the program call for all arrests made in Alameda County to be scanned and stored in the database. "We are entertaining and exploring options for the future as to which [other] databases" Oakland could access, Schmid said.
Oakland is using face-scanning technology from Imagis Technologies Inc. (Vancouver, BC, Canada). Orion Scientific Systems (Newport Beach, CA) helped develop the technology. The installation at Oakland International is part of a $2.65 million contract with the Alameda County Sheriff's Department to install Imagis' ID-2000 and Computerized Arrest and Booking System technology. Imagis ID-2000 uses more than 200 facial descriptors, generated from its sophisticated image analysis algorithms, to capture and compare an individual's face against a database, quickly identifying individuals who might pose a potential threat.